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Local coronavirus updates: San Joaquin schools shut down for weeks as county announces 5 more coronavirus cases

The utility company followed suit with PG&E, who announced a similar decision on Thursday.

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For the latest updates, please see our updated page at  /article/news/health/coronavirus/coronavirus-local-updates-sacramento-covid19-1/103-20f30dfd-5f42-43a7-9138-3296018c31c1 

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Here are the latest updates on coronavirus and how local governments are responding to the illness, with a focus on California for Friday, March 13.

What's Closed: Schools | Events

CALIFORNIA STATUS UPDATE

The California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) reports:

  • Confirmed cases: 247 (As of 7 a.m. March 13, not including Grand Princess passengers). 
  • 5 deaths (including one non-California resident)
  • Approximately 11,400+ people "self-monitoring" after returning from foreign travel. 
  • 18 state labs processing tests for COVID-19 (21 labs have test kits)

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS 

  • Five more San Joaquin County residents have tested positive for coronavius, bringing the county's total number of people diagnosed to eight, health officials announced on Friday. The number includes both travel-related and community spread cases, health officials said. On the same day, county education officials announced that all 14 San Joaquin County school districts will be shut down for at least three weeks beginning March 16. Schools will resume classes on Monday, April 6.
  • Placer and Solano counties announced Friday that all of their school districts will be closed for up to three weeks beginning March 16 as public health officials continue to tackle the global coronavirus pandemic.
  • The Sacramento Kings will pay support staff who have been affected by the suspension of the NBA season due to coronavirus pandemic. In a Tweet sent out Friday, the Kings said “We are committed to assisting all of our employees through this uncertain time. All part-time, hourly Kings event team members will be compensated for the shifts they were previously scheduled to work in March."
  • The Los Angeles Unified School District is closing schools in response to the coronavirus pandemic. LAUSD, the second-largest school district in the country, will close some 900 campuses serving approximately 500,000 students beginning on Monday, March 16. “This is a difficult decision, but necessary, as we try to slow the spread of the virus. Los Angeles Unified serves a high-needs population, and our schools provide a social safety net for our children,” school officials wrote in a press release. “The closing of any school has real consequences beyond the loss of instructional time. This is not an easy decision and not one we take lightly.”
  • Due to the coronavirus pandemic, SMUD announced it will not shut off power to people who have not paid their bills. The utility company followed suit with PG&E, who announced a similar decision on Thursday. In their release, SMUD wrote, “In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and growing economic challenges, SMUD announced it will suspend the practice of disconnecting power due to non-payment for residential and commercial customers. In addition, customers who are currently disconnected for non-payment will be reconnected, as long as the meter or other equipment has not been damaged and all other conditions are safe.”
  • Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo and Six Flags Magic Mountain in Los Angeles County will temporarily suspend operations until the end of March. In a press release issued Friday morning, official said, “While there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 at either property, the safety of our guests and team members is always our highest priority. We will continue to closely monitor these evolving conditions, and will follow the most current guidance from federal, state, and local officials.” Park officials say they will re-evaluate the situation at the end of the current suspension.
  • The 2020 Masters tournament has been postponed. Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club Fred Ridley issued a statement on the decision Friday. Ridley wrote, in part, “Unfortunately, the ever-increasing risks associated with the widespread Coronavirus COVID-19 have led us to a decision that undoubtedly will be disappointing to many, although I am confident is appropriate under these unique circumstances. Considering the latest information and expert analysis, we have decided at this time to postpone the Masters Tournament, the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals.”
  • Pacific Gas & Electric announced late Thursday that, due to the coronavirus pandemic, it will cease shutting off power to people who have not yet paid their bills. Additionally, the utility said it will offer flexible payment plans to customers who were impacted by the virus. The policy is in effect indefinitely.
  • The city of Tracy declared a local emergency after health officials confirmed two additional cases of coronavirus in San Joaquin County. The city activated an emergency operation center to update the public on the coronavirus. As of now, the city has canceled or postponed several community events as well as parks and commission meetings.
  • Sacramento City Unified School District announced that it closed all of its schools from Monday, March 16 to Wednesday, March 18. District officials said the schools will be open to students and staff on March 13. The closure would allow the district to clean and disinfect campuses, and provide training to staff for prevention and mitigation measures, school officials said.

MORE INFORMATION

OUR MISSION: FACTS NOT FEAR

BACKGROUND

According to the CDC, coronavirus (COVID-19) is a family of viruses that is spreadable from person to person. Coronavirus is believed to have been first detected in a seafood market in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. If someone is sick with coronavirus, the symptoms they may show include mild to severe respiratory illness, cough, and difficulty breathing.

Currently, there is no vaccine; however, the CDC suggests the following precautions, along with any other respiratory illness:

  1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  3. Stay home when you are sick.
  4. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  5. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  6. Wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds.

WHY HEALTH OFFICIALS ARE SO CONCERNED

Some people have compared the low overall death toll to the flu's high annual death toll in the United States as a reason not to be concerned about COVID-19, however, doctors and health officials are concerned for three main reasons:

  1. There's no vaccine yet and won't be one for until early 2021, at the soonest. Scientists are still researching what other medications could help patients. 
  2. Some people have built up immunity to the flu, but few have immunity to COVID-19 version of coronavirus
  3. Both the flu and COVID-19 are spread by droplets, but COVID-19 might be spread in the air. Scientists are researching exactly how COVID-19 spreads.

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